A massively popular Fort Worth restaurant pop-up is taking the next big step: Hot Box Biscuit Club, which has been hosting monthly brunch pop-up at restaurants around town since 2016, has secured its own permanent digs.
Hot Box will open on South Main Street at Main + Broad, a 44,000-square-foot mixed use project opening at 313 S. Main St. at Broadway Avenue. Sarah Hooton, who owns Hot Box with her partner Matt Mobley, says that they hope to open by late summer.
Hot Box has been a runaway smash and quintessential Fort Worth success story since it debuted in November 2016, with foodies in a frenzy to get tickets before the event sells out.
"Obviously we think our food is good, but it's been fun to witness the nature of the pop-up, which has taken on a life of its own," she says. "People have so many dining opportunities, you can go anywhere you want and sit down to eat whatever you want, but this is the complete opposite of that."
"Hot Box tells you where to sit, who you're sitting next to, when you're going to eat, how much you're going to pay for it," she says. "I think it's a huge nod to the people of our city, getting together as a community."
Their menu is Southern with deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes, and a special emphasis on biscuits and biscuit sandwiches. They love quirky names, such as The Paris Hilton, which has a buttermilk biscuit, fried chicken, hot sauce, and a scoop of honey butter.
There are also cool, offbeat appetizers, such as pimento cheese hush puppies, or fried okra, sliced lengthwise with a light cornmeal crust. Sides are family style and distinctive, including chicken-fat fried rice and a mac & cheese that's "Matt's Velveeta-style mac & cheese — but with no Velveeta," Hooton says.
Both are trained chefs who met when they worked together a decade ago as culinary instructors at Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas. They make their own jams and their own pies, such as Mary's chocolate cream pie, named for Hooton's grandmother from a family recipe.
The location is a quirky space with two levels, but fit their criteria for a cool spot in a great neighborhood.
"I also live in the Southside and have always appreciated these buildings," Hooton says. "Main + Broad used to be a factory — maybe a broom factory? — and is over a 100 years old. There are layers and layers of bricks, so we're going to get some exposed areas in our space."
Hooton says their story is as much a celebration of Fort Worth's supportive restaurant scene as it is their own success.
"Our friend Juan Rodriguez was the first to let us come and set up shop at Magdalena's, and since then, we've done pop-ups with Tokyo Cafe, Swiss Pastry Shop, Rahr & Sons Brewing, and more," she says. "We've had a lot of help and support."